Posts tagged with "Take a knee"

Nike sales have soared 31% since start of Kaepernick campaign

September 13, 2018

When Nike “just did it” early in September, many Americans, from the president to the buying public, thought that the company might take a stumble in the marketplace.

What the footwear and apparel manufacturer was doing could only be characterized as extremely controversial—creating an advertising campaign around the personality and politics of Colin Kaepernick, the athlete who first “took a knee” to protest that #Black Lives Matter  during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner at an NFL game

However, according to a September 10 report by NBC News, Nike sales jumped by 31%—nearly one-third—after debuting quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick as a new company spokesman.

What’s more, market observers say  that the president’s public displays of anger may have backfired by drawing more attention to Nike.

“Controversial endorsements tend to generate a lot of hype,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for Retail at The NPD Group, a market research firm, told Martha White of NBC. “These kinds of statements and brand partnerships make for a big impact on brand selling.”

Specifically, according to data from Edison Trends, online sales of Nike products jumped 31 percent between the Sunday before and the Tuesday after Labor Day, nearly double last year’s 17% increase over the same time period.

Kaepernick—now a free agent, but a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers when he first started what became a league-wide protest—is part of Nike’s 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” tagline. A TV ad narrated by Kaepernick debuted Thursday on the opening night of the regular NFL season.

“Nike is a company that is focused on younger generations and expanding their market. This ad did that for them,” Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends, told NBC.

But if Trump is no stranger to controversy, neither is Nike. The company’s decision to use Kaepernick —who is currently claiming that the NFL colluded against his employment in a lawsuit, isn’t the first time the athletic apparel company has used its brand platform to advocate for a cause or push for social change. Previous ad campaigns have taken on AIDS, gender inequality, disabilities, religion, and other cultural flashpoints.

“The brand has a rich history of positioning itself as a progressive company that connects with its customers through conflict constructive conflict,” Pandya told NBC News.

Experts say that by continuing to insert himself into the ongoing debate regarding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, Trump may have inadvertently helped out Nike by criticizing the brand on Twitter.

Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” Trump wrote last week, and video clips of people destroying Nike products quickly went viral. But contrary to Trump’s assertion, while calls for a boycott across social media dragged down the company’s stock immediately after the news broke, share prices have since recovered.

Drafting Kaepernick as a spokesman has more upside than downside risk for Nike, analysts say, because the company knows its customer base well. Market research from YouGov Plan and Track shows that 46% of Nike customers have a positive view of Kaepernick, compared to 34 % of all Americans. YouGov also found a 10 percentage point increase in the number of Nike customers versus the general public who say a company should take a stand on social issues and have a “moral message.”

“The company understands societal trends and its customer demographics better than most,” Edison Trends’ Pandya said. “It’s a calculated risk, but one that our data shows has had a positive impact so far in terms of online sales.”

“In this case, controversy is a good thing to their target market,” NPD’s Cohen said. “Consumers who are most likely to shop online, and shop athletic apparel and footwear, are very much in tune with the movement and the willingness for a mega-brand to stand up against the establishment.”

Research contact: @MarthaCWhite

Trump cancels ceremony for Super Bowl champs

June 6, 2018

At the last minute, President Donald Trump cancelled an invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles to attend a June 5 ceremony at the White House that would have honored the team’s Super Bowl victory—and in the process, ramped up his war of words against the NFL players’ Black Lives Matter protest spewed, Mic reported yesterday.

Trump disinvited the team after just a handful of players said they were planning to attend. He then said the revoked invitation was due to the team’s refusal to follow his demand to “proudly stand for the national anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”

“The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!” Trump tweeted Monday night.

However, Mic reported, no players on the Eagles kneeled in protest of police violence during the 2017-2018 season, something players on the team pointed out.

Even Conservatives were outraged, the news outlet noted. “The attempt to make the Eagles event cancellation about the national anthem is just a complete act of deceitful propaganda and conservatives should have zero to do with it,” Jonah Goldberg, a writer for the conservative outlet National Review, tweeted. “If that was the issue, why schedule the event in the first place? Also: None of them kneeled. Shameful.”

Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who was part of the Eagles winning squad, tweeted back at the president over his statement. “So many lies smh Here are some facts 1. Not many people were going to go 2. No one refused to go simply because Trump “insists” folks stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military”

In fact, Mic reported, Smith outlined in February — after the team won the championship — why he didn’t plan to attend a future celebration at the White House. “For me, it’s not just about politics,” Smith said at the time. “If I told you that I was invited to a party by an individual I believe is sexist or has no respect for women or I told you that this individual has said offensive things toward minority groups…this individual also called my peers and friends SOBs, you would understand why I wouldn’t want to go to that party. Why is it any different when the person has the title of president of the United States?”

Long and tight end Zach Ertz used social media to challenge Fox News for its use Tuesday morning of footage of Eagles players praying before games during a segment about protests during the national anthem.“This can’t be serious,” Ertz wrote on Twitter. “Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this….”

Fox later apologized for the misleading footage, the Mic story said.

However, the White House Office of the Press Secretary said that the fans “deserve better” in a formal statement from the president. The administration invited the fans to attend, anyway, noting that they would “… be part of a different type of ceremony—one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”

Meanwhile, the NFL has introduced a new policy for its players this season that enables them to protest—or “take a knee”—by staying in the clubhouse instead of appearing on the field during the national anthem.  Any player who kneels on the field risks incurring fines for his team.

The policy has the backing of 53% of U.S. adults, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll, while 32 % said they opposed the move, and 15 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion. The poll surveyed 2,201 U.S. adults from May 23-29 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

In the May poll, 83% of Republicans and 47% of Independents said they opposed NFL players kneeling during the national anthem before the start of football games. Last September, 77% percent of Republicans and 43% of Independents said they opposed the kneeling.

Among Democrats, opposition to the protests stayed about the same compared to September: 25% in May and 22% in the earlier poll.

Research contact:  jyuan@politico.com